How To Keep Your House Clean

by Sheila

For many folks, maintaining a household is a piece of cake. But when I first moved into my own place, I was completely unprepared! One day of crazy cleaning just wasn't enough...

I grew up with pretty indulgent parents, and I cleaned up my room once in a while. In college, I shared a house with another girl; once in a while I vacuumed and she cleaned the bathroom. We shared the task of washing the dishes. But once I got married and moved into my own house - I was kind of lost!

Neither the husband nor I are clean freaks. I like things to be put away, and the dishes to not pile up, but other than that, we didn't really care. Before I knew it, the carpet looked scary to sit on, and the stovetop was a mess.

Thankfully, I discovered some tricks that helped me stay sane!

Clean Every Day

I grew up knowing that one day a week I should clean up. But when you've got your own home, you're responsible for everything - the bathroom, the kitchen, the floors - every nook and cranny!

I tried doing a massive clean up day. The husband and I would vacuum and mop furiously, we'd clean the bathroom if we had time - but inevitably something was missed out on. Every now and then we'd miss a cleaning day - and the house would become a mess. It was so much effort for so little (or no!) reward!

That's when I learnt what most women already seem to know - you must clean every single day. This means, not doing a whole lot of cleaning at once - which means you feel less "exhausted" and feeling like you've done a "big clean".

Instead, I've learnt to wipe down my sink and countertop each night (well, ok - each night when I do the dishes, which is usually every alternate day since the husband sometimes does the dishes too...we don't have a dishwasher, which I guess is not so common in the US, but it's fairly common in rentals here in Australia.)

I've learnt to never keep cleaning for the weekend. Weekends are times to party and relax for me, so each weekday the husband and I do a little cleaning. I'll admit that I'm extremely lucky because my husband is happy to clean for me, and he's much quicker at cleaning than I am, but I try to be the "good wife" and do my bit. However, it's definitely possible to do it all by yourself, but making it a team effort is much more enjoyable.

So, each weeknight, my husband and I spend a few minutes on a task. One day it might be vacuuming the carpets and floors, wiping down the tiles, cleaning the toilet, wiping down surfaces - we rotate tasks so that one particular area never gets too dirty.

The nice thing about cleaning each day means that if you skip one day, it's not a big deal!

Have The Right Tools

Another thing I've found, is that having the right equipment makes a big difference. For instance, my husband likes to use a sponge with a plastic handle to use when cleaning the dishes, while I like to use gloves and a regular sponge. A good vacuum makes cleaning the floors so much easier! I've also discovered that the right cleaning liquid will make your task easier. Because our bathroom and kitchen are tiled, I like to use disposable floor wipes instead of moping the whole place, on most days - this way, the floor gets cleaner and I don't have to wait for it to dry!

Of course, hopefully one day we'll get a dishwasher and a robot vacuum cleaner, but till then, I'm happy sharing the chores and having a clean house.

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Updated: 03/14/2012, Sheila
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